Caregivers are integral to the lives of many different groups of people, including people with disabilities, people recovering from surgery or injury, patients going through chemotherapy, children and families who require specialized services, the elderly and many more. These people want to live their lives at home, not in a nursing facility, and there’s no reason they can’t receive quality care from caregivers right where they are. As an organization with a mission to provide care in the comfort of patients’ homes, you have several responsibilities.
First and foremost, you owe it to the caregivers you employ and send out into your community everyday to support them in any way possible. This can be done by investing in technologies to improve organization and communication, developing enduring processes and facilitating the creation of engaging employee training programs. Amongst all of this, one area that often ends up neglected is the implementation of a caregiver mileage reimbursement program.
Caregiver Mileage Reimbursement
While caregiver mileage reimbursement is not as sexy as your PTO policy or 401(K) plan, it is no less important. For many companies, in-home caregivers use their own vehicles to commute from place to place every day, and that means they rack up a lot of business-related miles on their personal cars. These miles are a deductible expense, and if your company opts to reimburse employees for work-related travel, this is actually an attractive perk for prospective hires. After all, the alternative is that they track this mileage and deduct it from their income every year, a tedious activity they’d much rather have you do.
If it’s already common practice for you to reimburse employees for work-related mileage expenses, then that’s great! However, we would bet money that the processes you have in place for caregiver mileage reimbursement are not as efficient as they could be. Many companies, for instance, will have employees keep a mileage log and then submit mileage via a spreadsheet. Just imagine how long that takes to complete every week, not to mention the inherent problems with accuracy and expense fraud that exist right beneath your nose.
There is an easy, straightforward way to handle caregiver mileage reimbursement for your company, though, and we’re going to tell you. When we lay it all out, you’ll see that the benefits are obvious.
First, Standardize the Process
There should be one single way to submit mileage reimbursement requests at your company. If there isn’t, or if everyone isn’t sure what that is, then you’re probably receiving mileage expense reports in a number of different ways. There is also a real possibility that many employees just aren’t submitting their mileage for reimbursement if they aren’t sure what the process is.
The sequence for processing mileage reimbursements will be a little different for every company and should align with your internal structure. Usually, employees submit expense reports to their direct supervisors or managers, and they review and give approval before passing it on to another supervisor or to the accounting department. No matter what, you should plan for more than one person to review mileage expenses before authorizing reimbursement in case a mistake occurs.
Once you have clear procedures in place, make sure these are communicated to everyone. This will decrease confusion and increase the likelihood that employees will actually utilize this program.
Simplify Mileage Tracking
If you’re already asking employees to keep a mileage log – and they’re actually doing it – then you’ve already fought half the battle. Now, you just need to make sure they’re doing it correctly. In order to adhere to an IRS accountable plan (and therefore not have reimbursements count as taxable wages), you need to have some specific information. They should include their starting and ending locations for each trip, the number of miles driven (odometer reading at the beginning and conclusion of a trip), the purpose of the trip and the date/time the trip was taken. With this information, you’ll be able to prove that an expense was business related and that expenses were reported in a timely manner.
An easy way to standardize the mileage log every caregiver keeps is to create a form that everyone uses. This won’t necessarily eliminate problems with accuracy and streamline reporting, but it will help ensure you receive the information you need. If you want to take mileage tracking one step further, technology can help you automate the collection of information. With an app, you won’t need to document odometer readings or date and time – it’ll all automatically be tracked for each employee. The less manual entry of numbers people have to do, the less opportunity for mistakes to happen.
Automate Submission, Review and Approval of Expense Reports
The workflow you establish that takes employee expense reports from submission to approval can be as simple or complex as your heart desires just so long as you keep it organized. Once mileage expenses are submitted, they are notorious for getting lost amongst all the other administrative minutiae managers and supervisors have to deal with, and then the reimbursement request never makes it to accounting.
You can imagine how frustrating it is for employees to go weeks or months before receiving their reimbursement payments. They could even submit a duplicate mileage reimbursement request, which will only complicate matters. With the implementation of some kind of management platform, you can ensure that your caregiver mileage reimbursement process doesn’t get impeded by other demands of your company. Going digital will also reduce the amount of paperwork that needs to be handed off from person to person, thus eliminating the possibility that something could be lost along the way.
Help Caregivers With CompanyMileage
Setting up enduring mileage management procedures isn’t something you can build up in a day. You need to determine standardized processes, train your employees to make sure all areas of your company are on the same page and automate tasks whenever possible. There is a way you can simplify caregiver mileage reimbursement management even further, though.
With the help of mileage reimbursement software such as SureMileage from CompanyMileage, much of the process can be automated and streamlined. From tracking employee mileage to submitting expense reports and managing the approval process, SureMileage keeps your business organized and on track. Employees spend significantly less time documenting their trips, and our point-to-point calculations essentially eliminate the risk of mileage expense fraud. Our system also integrates with all major payroll and accounting systems. From start to finish, managing expenses can now be a simple, automated process.
To learn more about the advantages of SureMileage and our SureMobile app, request a demo with CompanyMileage today.